NEW YORK (AP) —Commissioner David Stern gave NBA players an offer and a deadline: Accept a chance to earn up to 51 percent of basketball-related income (BRI) by this Wednesday or get ready for a deal that's a whole lot worse.
He wouldn't call it an ultimatum but it didn't sit well with the players union.
“The players will not be intimidated,” attorney Jeffrey Kessler said early Sunday after eight hours of negotiations stretched late into the night. “They want to play, they want a season, but they are not going to sacrifice the future of all NBA players under these types of threats of intimidation. It's not happening on Derek Fisher's watch, it's not happening on Billy Hunter's watch, it's not happening on the watch of this executive committee.”
Whatever. If players didn't agree to it by Wednesday, Stern said, they would get a deal that would guarantee them just 47 percent of BRI and call for a flex salary cap.
Players and owners met with federal mediator George Cohen for more than eight hours and Stern said Cohen offered six “What if?” recommendations relating to the BRI split and the salary cap system.
Stern said owners accepted the first five and would put them in writing in a formal proposal to the players by Sunday. But it wasn't acceptable Saturday, with Stern saying Kessler rejected it.
Though insistent on no more than a 50-50 split, owners will offer the players a band that would allow them to receive between 49 percent and 51 percent of revenue. However, Stern's description of how it would work was confusing and Kessler said under “the wildest, most unimaginable, favorable projections and we might squeeze out to 50.2.”
Fisher said the players' proposal would have given them about 51 percent, with a portion taken out to use for retired players' benefits.
Day 128 of the lockout came at the end of a tenuous week in which both sides seemed as much at odds with themselves as each other.